Saint Louis University: Student Group Prevented from Inviting Potential Political Candidate to Campus


Saint Louis University

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Case Overview


In October 2013, Saint Louis University (SLU) administrators informed the SLU College Republicans student group that they could not invite former United States Senator Scott Brown to speak at an on-campus event, citing concerns that the invitation could jeopardize the university’s tax-exempt status because Brown might be considered a candidate for public office. FIRE wrote to SLU on November 13 in order to correct this erroneous belief, explaining that federal law does not prohibit students from inviting political figures to campus. After SLU defended its actions by repeating the same misplaced concerns regarding its tax-exempt status, FIRE wrote a second time on January 23, pointing to policies and events at other schools expressly recognizing and affirming students’ right to invite political candidates to campus. SLU has failed to respond, leaving its students’ right to political expression in jeopardy.